The developer of the Roleez all-terrain wheel and wheel system is joining forces with a West Coast marketing firm to expand marketing efforts for the line and support development of a low-pressure polyurethane tire. Roleez Wheel Systems of Norfolk, Va., and Primex Marketing Inc. of Benicia, Calif., have set up an alliance called Roleez Inc., which is an independent corporation owned by Primex Marketing President Peter Reich. Primex will remain its marketing arm.
Both companies have their roots in the marine industry, offering transport-cart capabilities for small boats and heavy gear.
The newly developed low-pressure, highly flexible PU tires are an improvement over the PVC tires in that they conform to any terrain and roll smoothly over obstructions, the firms claim. The extrawide wheels have noncorrosive bearings that can be submerged in water, and flanged rims provide room for tire expansion.
Unlike conventional tires, the polyurethane tires flex to distribute weight evenly, preventing them from getting stuck in sand, mud and other rough surfaces. On golf greens, they do not leave intrusive impressions.
Roleez founder and President William Tuggle will continue to experiment with expanded applications for the wheel beyond the marine industry.
The new Roleez tires have a tensile strength of 900 pounds per square inch and an elongation factor of 425 percent.
"They can carry almost twice as much weight as ... PVC," Tuggle said.
"For example," he added, "we want to get into wheelbarrows. With the PVC tire, you were limited as to how much weight you could bear. The tires got so big they rubbed against the cart. The polyurethane, on the other hand, is very flexible, so we can put 550 pounds in the bucket.
"We also want to put them on little red wagons. We couldn't do it before with the PVC because there would be dimensional changes on hot sidewalks."
The PU tire maintains its flexibility in temperatures from 40° F to beyond 200° F. Transported in a hot car trunk, for example, there are no dimensional changes.
Research on the Roleez wheel system began when Tuggle was trying to move his own 400-pound Hobie catamaran across the sand to the waterfront by himself. "I tried to find wheels that would work on sand, and I finally decided I would have to develop something myself," he said.
The PU tires will be molded at facilities in the Far East, said Tuggle, who will continue to experiment with applications beyond the marine industry.
The material of the PU tire is Bayer Corp.'s Texin 985U-brand urethane and has a patent pending, he said.
Primex Marketing, founded in 1985, originally imported equipment for wind surfing, then for paddle sports. It later started producing carts to transport boats to the water.
The agreement between Reich and Tuggle to transfer the manufacture of the Roleez wheel was signed July 1, and the first product under Roleez Inc. will be delivered in April or May.
"Both companies are bringing their own strengths to the new alliance," Reich said. "The Roleez product line has real potential in many markets, and we anticipate that for the first two years, we'll double our sales every year because there will be a greater variety where our wheels will be used."
On construction sites, Roleez wheels can roll over mud, debris or cables without getting stuck. Beach vending cars weighing 500-600 pounds will be able to roll easily over hot sand and grass as well as asphalt with the PU wheels, he said.
Boeing Co. uses Roleez wheels in the building of its airplanes, according to Boeing design engineer Tom Munson. "We use them on our galley lifts," he said. "The floors inside the aircraft are a honeycomb-type material which is easily crushed or imprinted when wheels are rolled over them. The polyurethane tires have a wider footprint than the PVC — a larger surface area, similar to casters."
Roleez wheels are puncture- and shock-resistant. They are available in 11- and 18-inch diameter sizes and can be used in conjunction with motorized carts or most other types of industrial carriers. More wheel sizes will be offered soon.